In March 2018, Susan Combs– a vocal opponent of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – was named the acting assistant secretary of Head of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, a role responsible for providing policy guidance and direction for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.
Ms. Combs assumes her new responsibilities as she currently awaits her March 2017 nomination for another role, the Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget of the Department of Interior, the Department’s top policy position. Her confirmation for that role has been delayed in the Senate with no end in sight. Up until her most recent appointment, Ms. Combs had been serving as a special assistant to Secretary Zinke.
Combs has a long track record of opposing ESA overreach. In her time as Texas’s Comptroller of Public Accounts, she obtained control of the state’s endangered species program from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. During her time in this role, she promoted species protections through cooperative agreements rather than additional regulation.